Summer is really kicking butt here in New England. After weeks of hotter-than-normal weather, mother nature has offered us some reprieve: temps comfortably hovering around 80 degrees. Who knew that could feel cold?! (withhold the snarky comments, desert dwellers, our heat comes with 70% humidity!)
As my environmental engineer modeler coworkers will tell you, this summer has seen more hot-weather days (days where temperatures exceed 90 degrees F) than average. At first glance this is not an impressive fact because – on average – Boston, Mass. experiences 14 hot weather days per summer.
This figure seems elevated at first glance, since many New Englanders pride themselves on living without air conditioning. We can do that because while there may be a handful of days where hot weather prevails, those hot days (no more than 3 in a row) are quickly followed by mild 80 degree days and cool nights. So we survive it, drink extra water, and smartly position the box window fans to allow maximum air flow. Surviving the heat is one of our rallying cries, equivalent to traversing inclement weather to get to work.
With the exception of more recent years, central air conditioning (central air) in one’s home was considered an unnecessary luxury, installed in large homes for bragging rights, like crown molding and imported tiles.
But this year is different. And here is the explanation I received from a professional with years in the climate business (I am fortunate enough to work with some brilliant people!):
- Hot days are classified as anything above 90 degrees F
- While the average number of hot days in any given year is 14, the temperatures experienced on those days has increased substantially. In other words, where our “hot days” were once classified as 92F or 93F, they are now 98F or 100F.
- The number of hot days per year (in Boston) has increased from an average of 8, in 1893, to 14 in 2013.
- The number of hot days in a year is measured over the entire summer season. This year, we have experienced 15 hot days in just one month of summer. Ouch!
And perhaps the icing on the cake (or the walnuts on a Brigham’s sundae) – the number one reason New Englanders are complaining more than usual about the weather in the place they live and love: our spring was unusually cold. Day temps literally moved from 50F in June (which is unseasonably cold) to a series of 90-100F days in June/July without anything in between. New Englanders are having one big brain freeze that just won’t quit.
Thankfully, it’s behind us (for now) and we are all comfortably appreciating the cooler temps. But if you find yourself in a position to sell a window air conditioner, hold off until the next New England heat wave. They are so hard to get each year this happens, people will pay double the retail price of a new one for your old, crappy unit, just for the hope of some reprieve. Happy summer, everyone!!